Mead: The World’s Oldest Alcoholic Beverage

Everything to know about the oldest “honey” alcohol

Alcoholic mead is a fermented drink produced from honey, water, and yeast.

It has a long history that dates back to ancient times and is frequently described to as the oldest alcoholic beverage in the world. In this article, we’ll examine mead’s definition, background, and current rebirth.

What is Mead?

Mead is a form of wine produced without the use of grapes.

It is a fermented beverage that comes in still, sparkling, and carbonated varieties. Moreover, other fruits, spices, and herbs can be added to mead to produce specialized flavor profiles.

Mead is also known as honey wine, ambrosia, nectar of the gods, and elixir of the Vikings, among other names.

The type of honey used, the yeast strain, and any additional ingredients added during the brewing process can all affect the flavor character of mead.

The History of Mead

Mead has been consumed for thousands of years and has a rich history.

It is thought to have come from Africa, where early civilizations made a drink called “tej” out of fermented honey. Mead then moved to other continents, including as Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

Mead was frequently connected to religious and ceremonial rites in antiquity. Mead was thought to have magical abilities and was reported to have been made from the blood of a god in Norse mythology.

It was frequently drank at important events including weddings, memorial services, and religious ceremonies.

From the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, mead was a widely used beverage. It was regularly consumed by both aristocrats and commoners, and in some regions of Europe, it was even used as money.

Mead, however, started to lose favor as other alcoholic beverages like beer and wine became more popular.

The Modern-Day Resurgence of Mead

Mead has gained popularity once more in recent years. Craft brewers and small-scale producers who are experimenting with distinctive flavor profiles and brewing methods have come to love it.

Also, bars and restaurants are starting to offer mead more frequently. Together with other craft beers and wines, it is frequently offered on drink menus.

Moreover, health-conscious consumers who value natural ingredients and the absence of additives have taken an interest in mead.

Different Types of Mead

Mead comes in a variety of forms, each with an own flavor character.

Here are a few of the most well-liked varieties of mead:

Traditional Mead

Made only from honey, water, and yeast, this is the purest type of mead. It can be either still or carbonated and has a sweet, honey-like flavor.


Fruit is added throughout the brewing process to create this sort of mead. Fruit can be included in a number of ways, including as juice, puree, or whole fruit. Berry, peach, and apple melomels are common examples of fruit utilized in them.


Metheglin is a mead variety that has been spiced and herb-infused. Cinnamon, ginger, and cloves are frequently found in metheglins.


Braggot is a type of mead that is produced using malted wheat or barley, giving it a flavor characteristic similar to beer. There are many strengths of braggot that range from light and reviving to robust and complicated.


Made from apples or apple juice, cyser is a kind of mead. It is sweet with a honey basis and is comparable to hard cider.

Mead and Food Pairings

A wide range of dishes go well with mead, especially those with strong, complex flavors.

Mead goes well with a variety of foods, including cheese, charcuterie, roasted meats, and spicy foods. Mead’s complex flavors can enhance the richness of roasted meats, while its sweetness helps counteract the saltiness of cheese and charcuterie.

Mead can be utilized in baking and cooking. It can be used to lend a hint of sweetness and depth of flavor to marinades, sauces, and glazes. Desserts like sorbets and poached fruits can also contain mead.

Making Mead at Home

Making mead is a pretty easy process that can be completed at home with only a few components if you’re interested in giving it a try.

An easy recipe for creating traditional mead is provided below:



  1. Heat the water in a big pot until it just begins to boil.
  2. The honey should be added and thoroughly mixed in.
  3. Let the mixture cool until it reaches room temperature.
  4. Add the yeast after transferring the mixture to a fermentation container (such a glass carboy).
  5. During 2-4 weeks, or until the fermentation is finished, cover the container with a fermentation lock and let it ferment.
  6. Before drinking, transfer the mead to a clean, disinfected bottle and let it age for a while.


Is mead a wine or a beer?

Although it is created from honey and water instead of grains or grapes, mead is officially neither a beer nor a wine. Yet, because of its alcohol concentration and serving method, it is frequently regarded to as a kind of wine.

What flavor does mead have?

The type of honey and other components used will determine the flavors of the mead. While some meads are dry and peppery, others are sweet and fruity. Mead’s alcohol concentration can likewise vary greatly.

Does mead contain gluten?

As honey and water are used in the production of mead rather than grains, it is often gluten-free.

How should mead be served?

Depending on the type of mead and individual inclination, mead can be served either chilled or at room temperature. Warming up mead is another popular practice, especially in the colder months.


A distinctive and tasty alcoholic drink with a long history that dates back thousands of years is mead. Because to its natural components, intricate flavor profiles, and adaptability when paired with food, it has had a modern-day rebirth in popularity.

There are numerous varieties of mead to discover and savor, whether you’re an experienced mead aficionado or a curious newcomer. And if you’re feeling particularly daring, you might even try your hand at creating mead at home with a few basic ingredients and some perseverance. Comment below and let us know if you have ever tried mead!

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

Written by Lauren McKenna

Lauren is a soon to be Temple University graduate. Her love of travel has introduced her to food and drinks from all over the world. She provides MyBartender with a global view of all things alcohol.

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